Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

As part of the National Assessment Program (NAP), Australian students participate in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). PISA is a triennial assessment administered internationally by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that measures the ability of students near the end of compulsory schooling (15 year olds) to apply their accumulated knowledge and skills in reading, mathematical and scientific literacy to problems based on real life contexts.

As part of the National Assessment Program (NAP), Australia’s results from PISA are one of the primary measures used for reporting purposes for the agreed Council of Australian Governments outcome “Australian students excel by international standards.” PISA is also the key measure for the object under the Australian Education Act 2013 (Cth) that the Australian schooling system be considered both high quality and highly equitable by international standards by 2025.

In Australia, aggregated results from PISA are published at the national level for each domain (reading, maths and science) and against the following student sub-categories: gender, Indigenous status (and Indigenous by gender), school sector (government, Catholic, independent), language background, immigrant background, socioeconomic status and geolocation. Aggregated results are also published at the jurisdictional level for each domain and by gender.

Results from international assessments such as PISA can be used to analyse how countries’ performance change over time and, through the background contextual surveys that accompany the tests, identify some of the similarities and differences between education systems that can contribute to different outcomes. 

Around 540,000 students across 72 countries and economies participated in PISA 2015, the most recent PISA cycle. The Australian national report for PISA 2015 and for previous cycles of PISA are available. Published data for Australia and all countries that participated in PISA 2015 (and in previous cycles) is available through the OECD’s PISA website.

Want to know more?

Visit the Australian National Project Manager’s website (ACER) for further information and reports on international assessments.